An autonomous territory of Tanzania, visit Zanzibar, the tropical heaven lying in the lap of the Indian Ocean. The island boasts of some of the great white sandy beaches in East Africa. Zanzibar also has an interesting history and culture to share. If you are planning to visit it, then prepare for an extraordinary experience with these top things to do in Zanzibar.
Top Things To Do In Zanzibar, Tanzania
1. Explore the Rustic Stone Town
Stone Town in Zanzibar is the most historic place in Zanzibar and one of the top Zanzibar tourist attractions for history lovers and architecture enthusiasts. Take a walk down its Arab-style streets and lay your eyes upon magnificent old buildings that transport you into the past. These streets echo the glorious years of the island and also whisper ancient legends of how Zanzibar flourished over time. Stone Town is home to some of the most prominent places in Zanzibar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hence, you can discover some of the most fascinating things to do in Stone Town.
Average Price: No entrance fee
Pro Tip: Bring dollars as they are the most preferred currency here. Also, do not bring those notes that date before 2000 as they are rarely accepted here.
2. Visit the Historic Old Fort
The oldest building in Stone Town, Zanzibar, the Old Fort is located on the seafront, right in front of the famous Forodhani Gardens. Originally built in the 17th century with the purpose of defending the island from the Portuguese attacks, nowadays the Old Fort is one of Stone Town’s main sights. Visitors can admire the remains of the former fort and amble around the courtyard in the centre, where sellers have local produce for sale. An old amphitheatre still hosts events and functions at the fort.
Timings: 08:00 am to 06:00 pm
Entrance fee: $3 per person
Pro Tip: The place can be explored within an hour.
3. Enjoy a Dhow Cruise or a Fishing Tour
Take a dhow boat cruise at sunset, watching the old city float by from your ocean point of view. Watch Zanzibar and its historic waterfront receding into a distance. Witness the golden rays of the setting sun spreading heavenly colours all around. Get the opportunity to watch the best of the horizon in Zanzibar. Let your hair down as you relish refreshing sundowners and delicious homemade snacks on the relaxing cruise ride. These dhow cruises are an experience for a lifetime, definitely one of the best things to do in Zanzibar. Zanzibar also happens to be a hotspot for a fun and exploratory fishing tour. So, take your pick as per the mood.
Timings: 04:00 pm to 07:00 pm
Average Price Range: $50 – $120 (depends upon the luxury you are availing)
Pro Tip: Book the cruise online for a more professional and economic excursion.
4. Snorkel for a Meet-Cute with the Corals
If you’re a fan of snorkelling or diving, there are some great places to visit in Zanzibar for such exciting activities. Mnemba Atoll, located right off the north-east coast, is considered to be the best spot. You would see a large variety of colourful fish! If you’re near Matemwe Beach Village, you can hire a boat from someone right on the beach. This is the cheapest way to do snorkelling here. So, up for an adventure?
Recommended For: Adventure Enthusiasts, Explorers
Timings: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm
Average Price Range: $100 – $120 per session per person
Pro Tip: Mnemba Island is the best place in Zanzibar for snorkelling!
5. Head towards the Serene Jozani Forest
Explore the native forests of Zanzibar Island, Jozani Forest, set in the south of Chwaka Bay. This is where you would meet the endangered Red Colobus Monkey. It is the only natural habitat in the world for these species. If you are an enthusiastic birder, you would also get an opportunity to a number of feathery friends. Set out on the nature trail and you will see a host of other animals, including other species of monkeys, bush babies and duikers.
Timings: 07:30 am to 05:00 pm
Entrance Fee: $7.30
Pro Tip: Without a guide, it is not allowed to explore off track in the forest. So, plan your exploration accordingly.
6. Go on an Exotic Zanzibari Spice Tour
Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in Zanzibar! The island is known for its spice trade, so what better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than learning about its wealthiest and most profitable industry? You can choose from a variety of tours and explore the winding streets with expert tour guides who will inform you of the origins of the industry. Also, learn about the wide variety of spices that Zanzibar produces and trades in. You can also opt to explore the spice markets on your own. After all, it has its own charm.
Timings: 07:00 am to 07:00 pm (especially when the markets are open)
Average Price: $10 – $20 for a guide per day
Pro Tip: Masingini Forest is the best place in Zanzibar to explore the best of spice farms.
7. Explore the Zanzibar Night Market
One of the most bustling places to visit in Zanzibar is its ever-scintillating Night Market. It is the place where you would find culture meeting history. Take your taste buds on an exciting tour as you relish some great cuisines in the market. After sunset, the quiet streets at the heart of Stone Town transform into a culinary playground. Chefs set up countless rows of food tables as hundreds of people flock to relish their favourite dishes. So, do visit this wonderful place and treat the foodie in you.
Recommended For: Foodies, Shopaholics
Ideal Timings: 07:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Average Price: $5- $8 per person
8. A Trip to the Disappearing Island of Nakupenda
Located off the main island of Zanzibar is the ravishing Nakupenda Island. Boasting of a glittering stretch of white sands, turquoise blue waters and of course, a rejuvenating environment, Nakupenda Island is a wonder in the true sense. It is known for disappearing under the sea waves during the afternoon and hence, it is on the radar of every curious traveller. The waters here are perfect for snorkelling and fishing too. So, do check it out and enjoy its relaxing scenery.
Recommended For: Families, Couples, Photographers
Entry Fee: No Entrance Fee ($15-$20 per person for the boat)
Ideal Timings: Early Morning till 11:00 am
Pro-Tip: Combine the tour with Prison Island and get to explore both of them at a decent price.
9. Walk into the Country’s Dark Past at the Slave Museum
Slave Museum is a perfect place to learn about the history of slave trade in Zanzibar. So, if you are a history lover and have great affinity towards exploring different cultures, then this place is all set to fascinate you to the core. At the Slave Museum, you can tour chambers where they kept slaves before they were sold.
Recommended For: Historians, Culture Explorers
Timings: 08:00 am to 06:00 pm
Entry Fee: $5 per person
10. Take a Dip in the Beach Waters of Nungwi
Nungwi is a village found on Zanzibar’s North West tip and is a perfect place to spend lazy afternoons by the shores. Bathe in the sun or simply visit the locals and learn about their culture and lifestyle. Though it is a popular place, it isn’t visited by most of the common tourists. However, this is a great beach for those looking to just soak up some sun and dip their toes in the sea.
Recommended for: Families, Couples, Beach Lovers
Average Price: No fee
Pro Tip: Visit the place during the low tide and get the opportunity to relish the beauty of Kendwa Beach.
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